Long before we dissected new Apple MacBooks or worried about whether or not a PC had that "Intel Inside" sticker on the case, there was this little ditty called the Busicom 141-PF printing calculator. The iconic piece of tech (the first thing to actually have "Intel inside") turned 37 this week, and to commemorate the event, Bill Kotaska did what any retro-loving geek would do—he built a working replica with a vintage Intel 4004 microprocessor. It hails from a simpler time. A time when new laptops and PCs didn't come loaded with AOL adware and a buttload of annoying stickers on their facades.In addition to its obvious simplicity, the Kotaska replica boasts strange retro features like "paper" and a rare Shinshu Seiki Model-102 drum printer. The firmware is old school too, having been extracted from the original Busicom ROM. Be sure to read the narrative about this classic gadget of yesteryear in the link for more on its history. You might learn something. Curious about building your own? Have a nostalgic itch for the days when you couldn't hit the widget button on your laptop and have a calculator pop up instantaneously on screen? Kotaska has you covered, my friends, with the schematics for this rare recreation, as well as the original source code.
Not as clumsy or random as an iPhone.
An elegant processor for a more civilized time.
For thousands of computational cycles the Printing Calculators were the guardians of sums and numbers in the Old Republic.
Before the dark times, before the Empire.
-now the Printing Calculators are all but extinct...